News: The two-day Asian Waterbird Census-2020 commenced in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday under the aegis of experts from the Bombay Natural History Society(BNHS).
- Asian Waterbird Census(AWC): It was started in the year 1987.It is an annual event in which thousands of volunteers across Asia and Australasia count waterbirds in the wetlands of their country.
- Objectives of the Census:
- To obtain information on an annual basis of waterbird populations at wetlands in the region during the non-breeding period of most species (January), as a basis for evaluation of sites and monitoring of populations.
- To monitor on an annual basis the status and condition of wetlands.
- To encourage greater interest in waterbirds and wetlands amongst citizens.
- Conducted by: The census is conducted by the wetlands International and forms part of a global waterbird monitoring programme called the International Waterbird Census(IWC).
- India: In India, the AWC is annually coordinated by the Bombay Natural history Society(BNHS) and Wetlands International.
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Asian Waterbird Census 2020 in Andhra Pradesh:
- The census will cover at least two dozen sites including Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, Kolleru Lake and Krishna Sanctuary. The Kumbhabhishekam mudflat, the wetland opposite the Coromandel industrial area and other Important Bird Areas(IBAs) are also being covered.
- Previously, the census had explored the avian diversity in the Godavari estuary and has presented a demonstration on the 90 species of birds sighted in the Godavari estuary and finalised 12 sites being covered in the census.
- However, on the endangered Indian Skimmer more study was still required to establish that the species breeds on the Kakinada coast, which supports a great number of Indian Skimmer.
News: Union Education Minister and Union Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development jointly launched the Toycathon 2021.
- Toycathon 2021: It’s a kind of hackathon for the toy industry. It has been organized by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Ministry of Textile, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of MSME, Ministry of I&B and All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE).
- Aim: To conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behavior and good value among the children.
- Themes: It is based on nine themes viz. Indian Culture, History, Knowledge of India and Ethos; Learning, Education and Schooling; Social and human values; Occupations & specific fields; Environment; Divyang ; Fitness and sport; Out of the box, creative and logical thinking and Rediscovering/redesigning traditional Indian toys.
Why is Toycathon being organized?
- Toycathon is being organized to develop India as the global Toy manufacturing hub.
- India is home to 25% of global children belongs to the age group of 0 to 12 years.
- India is home to several toy clusters and thousands of artisans produce indigenous toys which not only have cultural connect but also helps in building life-skills and psychomotor skills among children especially at an early age.
- India’s share in the global toy market is estimated to be at $90 billion, which is just 0.5 per cent of the global share. Apart from that 80 per cent of the toys sold in India are imported from China.
News: Prime Minister of India has inaugurated the Kochi-Mangalore LNG (liquified natural gas) pipeline.
- Kochi-Mangalore Gas Pipeline: It is a 450 km long pipeline being built by GAIL (India) Ltd.
- Purpose: It will carry natural gas from the Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG) Regasification Terminal at Kochi (Kerala) to Mangalore (Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka).
- Pass through: The gas pipeline will pass through Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts.
- Significance of Pipeline:
- The pipeline marks an important milestone towards the creation of ‘One Nation One Gas Grid’.
- The pipeline will supply environment-friendly and affordable fuel in the form of Piped Natural Gas (PNG) to households and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to the transportation sector.
- It will also supply Natural Gas to commercial and industrial units across the districts along the pipeline.
- Consumption of cleaner fuel will help in improving air quality by curbing air pollution.
- Natural gas: It is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane. It is formed when layers of decomposing plant and animal matter are exposed to intense heat and pressure under the surface of the Earth over millions of years.
- Uses: Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel among the available fossil fuels. It is used as
- Feedstock in the manufacture of fertilizers, plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals.
- It is used as a fuel for electricity generation, heating purpose in industrial and commercial units.
- Natural gas is also used for cooking in domestic households and a transportation fuel for vehicles.
- Contribution: Natural gas currently constitutes 6.2% of all energy consumption in the country. The target is to double the share of natural gas in its energy base to 15% by 2030.
News: Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt has agreed to resume negotiations to resolve their decade-long complex dispute over the Grand Renaissance Dam hydropower project in the Horn of Africa.
Source: Indian Express
- Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD) which was formerly known as the Millennium Dam is located in Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River about 40km east of Sudan.
- The dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed as well as the seventh largest in the world.
- What is the dispute?
- The Nile river has been at the center of the dispute involving several countries that are dependent on the river’s waters. At the forefront of this dispute are Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.
- The main waterways of the Nile run through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt and its drainage basin runs through several countries in East Africa including Ethiopia, the portion where this dam is being constructed.
- Egypt has objected to the dam’s construction saying the dam’s location on the Blue Nile tributary would allow Ethiopia to gain control of the flow of the river’s waters and could result in lower water levels within its own borders.
- Sudan too is concerned that if Ethiopia were to gain control over the river, it would affect the water levels Sudan receives.
- What is happening now? The latest round of talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt occurred through video conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic with South Africa observing the proceedings in its role as the current head of the African Union’s rotating council in addition to other international observers.
News: The Government of India has announced the construction of the World’s largest floating solar energy project.
- Floating Solar Energy Project: The world’s largest floating 600 MW solar energy project is to be constructed at Omkareshwar dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh.
- Funding: The International Finance Corporation, World Bank and Power Grid have granted in-principle consent for providing aid for the project development.
- Completion of Project: The project is likely to begin power generation by year 2022-23.
- Key Features of the Project:
- The project is to have floating solar panels of 600 megawatts of power generation capacity.
- The solar panels are to be installed over the backwaters of the Omkareshwar Dam.
- Solar panels will float on the surface of the water in the reservoir. It will automatically adjust upward and downward based on the water level of the Dam. The floods and strong waves will not have any effect on the solar panels.
- Floating solar: It refers to a solar power production installation mounted on a structure that floats on a body of water, typically an artificial basin or a lake.
- Types: Two types of Floating Solar can be distinguished:
- FPV or Floating photovoltaic, that uses photovoltaic panels mounted on the platform
- Floating Concentrated solar power that uses mirrors that redirect the solar power to a tower.
- Advantages: a) No land Occupancy b) Higher efficiency than ground mounted solar systems c) Helps in reducing water evaporation among others.
News: Swasth Vayu Ventilator has received the approval of the expert committee constituted by Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
- Swasth Vayu: It is a ‘Made in India’ non-invasive (involves use of masks or similar device) ventilator developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories(NAL),Bengaluru.
- Key Features:
- It is a microcontroller based precise closed-loop adaptive control system with a built-in biocompatible 3D printed manifold and coupler with HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filter).
- It also has several advanced features like Bi-level mode(BiPAP), Continuous Positive Airway Mode(CPAP) and Spontaneous modes with provision to connect Oxygen concentrator or Enrichment unit externally.
- The ventilator is ideal for treating Covid-19 patients in wards, makeshift hospitals, dispensaries and homes.
- The major advantage of this machine is also that it is simple to use without any specialized nursing, cost effective, compact and configured with majority of indigenous components.
News: A command and control centre has been set up at Airports Authority of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited(AAICLAS) to monitor the movement of COVID-19 vaccines.
Source: The Hindu
- What will AAICLAS do? It will be the nodal body for coordinating air transportation of the vaccines across a network of 41 airports with Pune — where vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India is located — as the hub.
- Process of Vaccine Transportation:
- The 41 airports or cities where transportation efforts will be focused include Karnal, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, each of which has a Government Medical Stores Depot (GMSD) of the Central government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Once vaccines dispatched by the manufacturers arrive at these four big depots, they will be further distributed across 37 State depots.
- Thereafter, they will be sent to district depots and finally to the primary health care centres.
- Each of these centres has a temperature tracker which will upload temperature data on a central server for real time monitoring.